Winter shelter emergency extended

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19)  - Cincinnati has extended a winter shelter emergency until Friday, Jan. 8, 2010.

In a statement, Mayor Mark Mallory says that'll allow people not accepted by other shelters throughout the city to have a place to get out of the cold.

The Emergency Winter Shelter at the Over-the-Rhine Community Center, 1715 Republic St., will be open from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. until Friday.

FOX19 called at least 10 homeless shelters throughout the Tri-State; All were full.  The list included long-term shelters such as the Catholic Worker House in Over the Rhine.

"We're more of a hand up, then a hand out," said House Manager Karl Fields. "Guys know when they come to the catholic worker house, they know that it's time to change."

The Catholic Worker House's building isn't just shelter from the elements, but a bridge to a better life. Participants must be sober and committed to getting a job and keeping it. On Friday afternoon, Fields said all of their 16 beds are filled, but they always keep one open for emergencies. That includes nights like tonight when the bitter cold can send a powerful wake-up call.

"A combination of things: One- get out the cold," Fields said. "That's got to be the number one reason. Because we don't charge rent."

No emergency was declared across the bridge in Covington, but Emergency Cold Shelter Manager Rachel Winters said they filled up their 32 spots minutes after opening.

"We're a community here that supports the concept that human beings need a place to live especially when the weather dips down so low because we don't want someone dying from weather exposure," said Winters.

And Winters said they'll do whatever it takes to keep everyone alive.

"We also know that Cincinnati has an overflow shelter so if someone comes here and they're unable to get over to Cincinnati to the overflow shelter and we're full, we will attempt to get transportation for them over there," Winters said.

The Emergency Winter Shelter in Over the Rhine will be open from 10 p.m. on Friday until 8 a.m. tomorrow morning and the same on Saturday and Sunday.

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